there are more planets than stars
more places to land
than to be burned
I have always been in love with
last chances especially
now that they really do
seem like last chances
the trill of it all upending
what’s left of my head
after we explode
are you ready to ascend
in the morning I will take you
on the wing
Originally published in Poem-a-Day (March 28, 2019), Academy
of American Poets. Reprinted by permission of the author.
D. A. Powell’s most recent books include Repast (2014) and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (2012). He is the 2019 recipient of the John Updike Award from the Academy of American Arts & Letters, and lives in San Francisco.
Home— the place of attention.
Where you know that swirl in the road
marks the dust bath of a jackrabbit.
Or that a particular Canyon Wren ends
her descending aria with a startling yee-haw.
That on our longest of days,
the sun retires on the breast
of the northwest horizon
and begins a steady southern swing
to the little knoll where we mark its winter twin.
Our lives held in this gentle cup,
palmed within an arc of light.
First appeared in Canary (Winter 2018-19)
A tree in the treeless desert,
I am landmark to the lost.
General Store to the needy.
Bestowing fruit, water,
fiber, needles, combs, or rope.
I am apartments—
shelter for oriole, cactus wren,
Home to the Swainson’s hawk,
with his monk’s hood, and
My tap root, fathoms deep, yet
shallow roots grab each drop.
And yes, I’ve made a pool of shade—
Come, rest. Step in and bathe.
“Queen Yucca” from We Make a Tiny Herd (Main Street Rag, 2019).
Reprinted by permission of the author.
Happiest on a tractor named Mabel (a muse of 55 horsepower) Lucy Griffith lives on a ranch beside the Guadalupe River near Comfort, Texas. Her first collection of poems We Make a Tiny Herd was published by Main Street Rag as a finalist in their poetry book contest. She also has work in the anthologies Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Weaving the Terrain: 100-word Poems of the Southwest and The Enchantment of the Ordinary, as well asCanary and Avocet journals. She is co-editor of Echoes of the Cordillera: Attitudes and Latitudes Along the Great Divide, an ekphrastic anthology. She is the winner of the Donald Everett Axinn Returning Contributor Award in Poetry for the 2019 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
according to a (faulty) credo:
any agile gesture
Then, when wind abates
stature regained, a realignment
resilient as a branch
pushed from the path
and springing back.
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, author of OPINEL (Bauhan Publishing, 2015), and two chapbooks, received fellowships from MacDowell Colony, The Heinrich Böll Cottage, and the 2008 Fellowship in Poetry from MCC. She was a Fullbright Scholar, teaching poetry, India, 2011. Founder/director of The Loom, Poetry in Harrisville, reading series, her poems have appeared in Agni, Field, Greensboro Review, Harvard Review, Ocean State Review, Salamander, Slate, Taos Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, featured in VerseDaily, and included in two anthologies. Rebecca lives in Marlborough, NH and teaches at Tufts University.
Why Poetry Matters: Poetry touches those vibrations we feel pulsing, those infinite correlations that hum in us.
At Spring Street on the edge of Chinatown,
a guy in an old car turned left into
my path. I yelled, watch out, and he rolled down
his window, shouted back, Oh, shut up. You
are so fucking stupid!
I was glad
he spoke, found a way to say hello
in a neighborhood filled with pictographs
I love but cannot read. The German roots,
sibilance in shut, closed vowel sounds
in fuck and up made me almost forget
why I was there.
Then I pictured my two-year-old
grandson pedaling his birthday gift;
how he would look up to tell me tanks,
eluded by the consonant-clustered thanks.
First appeared in Rattle (Winter, 2018.)
Elizabeth J. Coleman is editor of HERE: Poems for the Planet (Copper
Canyon Press, 2019), and author of two poetry collections, The Fifth
Generation (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016) and Proof (Spuyten Duyvil Press,
2014) (finalist for two University of Wisconsin prizes). She is the author of
two poetry chapbooks, and co-author and translator of Pythagoras in
Love/Pythagore, Amoureux (Folded Word Press, 2015) (bilingual edition).
Elizabeth’s poems appear in a number of anthologies and journals
The wing’s beat and the owl’s stare.
The cool drink of morning on the mountain.
The verdant fields knew how to sing
long before the blue bunting rose to the occasion. Before
tourists rose from the pavement and declared this land pure.
Vessels with technology might be combing Lake Champlain
for history, but we know there’s no fatidic tale the lake will tell.
It was written in our bones; we don’t pay attention to the story.
The ursine birth of our distractions
keeps us hibernated through winter, and beyond.
It is quiet enough at the top of Owl’s Head to hear your own voice
pierce the stillness, crack it like a quartz line.
The fear settles over you, an infant in a blanket.
The wind. The echo
of someone’s love
Samantha Kolber’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tiny Seed Journal, Rise Up Review, Red Silk: A Red Tent Anthology, Hunger Mountain, Minerva Rising, and PoemCity, among others. Prizes include runner-up in the 2010 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and first place in the 2014 J. Richard Barr Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of Vermont. She received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, and recently completed a post-grad semester in poetry at the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. She lives in Montpelier, Vermont.
Why Poetry Matters: Poetry is for all of us: it lives in our heartbeats, in our breath; in our languages & our tongues.
The evening storm writes this city’s young men. The brown
limp of winter in every crack of the city’s cobblestones
teaches them how to etch the silhouette of the birds in flight:
the feathers glued together to form the wings, the open beak,
cartilages. A thin film of dust on every leaf – the city
began as a roundabout history of forms set in motion elsewhere.
A city manufactured inside the redundant alphabets, fragile dust,
brittle pages. A skinny girl: boy-cropped hair, quill-thin arms. Trying
to forge this city’s ribcage from its insistent coughs. She is gathering
between her palmlines what this city harvests: used book shacks,
coffee-houses, lonely neighborhood parks, tramlines, tobacco-stained
lips. No one taught her how to write herself as the chronicler
of an unborn night. How to document this collapse of the present
within her veins. The city rarely teaches its young women to etch
the bones of the unchronicled poets. Rarely teaches them to hammer
in a storm on the mirror. No one will buy this portrait of a city’s
detritus: no museum will light her way home. She barns
her collectibles inside the marrow of her bones, illustrates
them with tomato-crimson petals. When she will prance around
the terrace at dawn, the storm will be raging: elsewhere.
First appeared in fugue (online issue 2019)
Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and after living in US for 15 years, has recently moved back to India, where she divides her time between her hometown and Sonipat, Haryana, where she works as a teacher of writing and literature at OP Jindal Global University.
A brave people, who sat up straight
in the grave, with only this perforated
sacred bowl to protect their heads
from the sad hail of dirt clods
dropped by the mourners; and to allow
the curious soul to come and go.
Soul could ride on a grain of sand,
sucked up and whipped around
in a dust devil; or just as happily
fall, in a raindrop’s belly,
to feed their spindly light-green corn;
or drift away and never return.
Here, on a bug’s back, a tiny man is
clutching a spear for balance
as he walks the painted wire.
But look how busy the bug’s legs are!
They gallop in place on the broken-out hole
and it spins like a broken wheel.
First appeared in Salamander. And forthcoming in Boy with a Ball (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Edison Dupree’s collection, Prosthesis, appeared in the Bluestem Award series, and his earlier chapbook, A Rapid Transit, was published by the N.C. Writers’ Network. A new chapbook is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and works as a library assistant at Harvard University.
Why Poetry Matters: At its best it can get strong feeling across from one stranger to another. That seems miraculous.
On our early morning walk we discover a small city
left on the beach by unknown builders;
thigh-high towers of pink and grey granite
warmed by chunks of sea-smoothed brick
that once made houses.
You ask me to wipe sun block from your face.
I do, careful with the eyes and mouth.
Best of all are the standing stones—
druid figures piled up from rocks,
and set out so the tide will wash their feet
before it knocks them down.
Erect amid the flowing green Spartina grasses,
they tilt their oval shoulders
as if it were bad luck to say: so close to paradise.
“Brace’s Cove” from Brace’s Cove (New Issues Press, 2000).
Reprinted by permission of the author.
Jay Featherstone is former editor, New Republic, school principal, teacher educator. Author of books on education. New poetry book just out, Glass (Fenway Press). First poetry book Brace’s Cove (New Issues).
I ride my bicycle on the slippery stone sidewalk
after a summer rain, past the town doctor
sitting on his front porch reading the newspaper.
I smell the dirty brick street from mist rising
from yellow ingots and think it odd that I remember
this one ride after the rain now that I’m old in comparison
to when my red bicycle took me everywhere I could
dream, from whitewater rivers to steamy jungles,
through a sky so blue that I ache thinking of that silent
glide through a mute town. It’s quiet after the rain.
The dark clouds are followed by white galleons dragging
shadows like weightless anchors. No one speaks to me because
I cannot hear them. I do not remember ever hearing them;
who would stop to listen through such blue?
First appeared in The Adirondack Review (Winter 2014).
William R. Stoddart is a poet and short fiction writer who lives in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Adirondack Review, Ruminate Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Every Day Fiction and 34th Parallel.
Why Poetry Matters: Poetry connects the soul to the tenuous illusion of life.